Saturday, August 9, 2014

Long Overdue Post feat. Purple!

I seem to have gotten out of the habit of blogging.  Free time apparently equals both lots of horsey time both in the saddle and cuddles, but conversely causes zero blogging motivation.

There's been some lessons, with more progress than frustration/confusion on my part, so I'd say that's a good index for measuring how things are going.  We've been doing lots of trotting and canterwork, I've been learning the finer points of two-point, and Jazz has been more awesome than I could have hoped at a few points this year (like this one and this one and a few I chose to exclude from the blog).  I mean, she's still my Jazz.  She still avoids using her muscles properly by taking wide turns and slowing down, she still occasionally goes into a strung out gross trot that drives me absolutely INSANE faster than any other behavior she has when I ask for a canter transition, and the occasional head toss gets thrown into the mix.  But, I tend to exaggerate the negatives of Jazz a little.  I have a horsey friend that is horse-poor who, not so long ago, mentioned in passing that she was going to a friend's farm to ride their horse.  I told her that she could come ride Jazz anytime, to which she responded "No. No offence, but your horse sounds too crazy."  I promise you, she is definitely a wild thing.

I mean,

would you just look at all this well documented,




behavior? It's no wonder!
This is the average day with Jazz, pre-ride.  I ground tie her on the grass by the arena, and she naps heavily until I force her to 'be awake' and 'open for the bit' and 'move with energy'.  It's a wonder she puts up with such nonsense interrupting her sleep.  
Okay, Jazz technically was drugged in two of those photos (don't worry, it's all on the level), but she really is an awesome chill horse.  I forget to appreciate that sometimes.  I recently played with two other horses who, not to disparage perfectly fine, lovely horses, were NOT Jazz.  They had absolutely no ground manners, my biggest pet peeve with any horse.  It's not their fault, they were just never taught boundaries, but one of them couldn't stay out of my space for longer than two seconds without trying to step forward into me.  Talk about pushy!  I get so spoiled with Miss Jazz, who even when she isn't listening I can push her in a lot of directions from the ground.  I mean, she won't move properly and with respect, but by God, she'll move without significant pulling or pushing (though there is occasional rope swinging, tapping, and interjections of "you better move or else").  She leads so well I can't even describe it.  On a good day, it's essentially like walking around a balloon on a string.  I mean, any decent horse with regular work leads well, but spending time around other's young(er) horses and working with them really brings appreciation to a horse that is well halterbroke. And she ground ties. Can we take a minute to appreciate that? I can lead her to a patch of grass.  Let me say that again. Grass. As in, pretty much all she eats, and I can let go of her.  I can have no immediate contact with her and she will neither wander off, nor eat the main staple of her diet that is three feet below her face.  How amazing is that! And she does that every day I see her.  Every one! And more often than not, she falls asleep.  Takes a nice nap right there, completely unrestrained, free to go wherever her little horsey brain tells her, and she stays where I want her and naps.  Horses, right?

Anyways, I'm not going to go into real specific details about our riding recently in this post.  Its been a lot of the boring stuff as I work to improve my balance, seat, muscles, legs, hands, heels, eye line, and a whole multitude of other things.  Instead, I'm going to recap some of our recent purchases.

The first, and the one I was pretty excited about at the time of purchase was a pair of Cavallo Simples.  I'm not happy with Jazz's feet over gravel and hard surfaces, but I'm not interested in shoes, so hoof boots were the obvious solution.  

That said, my love for the idea of the Cavallos and what I'd read and seen so far, was not met with abject love to match when I put them on my horse.  According to the Cavallo website, if they're hard to get on, they're too small, and if they rotate all the way around, they're too big.  Simple right? I wish.  I put them on, and they did go on easily.  Not too small? Check.  I checked and tried to rotate them, and they did turn.  Not too big? Um.  But, they didn't rotate all the way around like the website said they're not supposed to.  But, they did rotate about a quarter turn either way.  But, the fitting guide said some movement side to side is fine because the hoof expands in motion.  But, it said nothing about the amount of rotation acceptable.  Um.  They were also kind of flopping around and clippy-cloppy when she walked, and I just wasn't sure at all.  They were also quite wide around the tops, I suspect just because Jazz doesn't have a lot of bone.  I was the least worried about that, because there are a bajillion options for wraps and whatnot that I could put around her fetlocks if I'm really that worried about the gap.  I decided I felt unsure enough about them that I couldn't have my horse wearing them on the trails and me being relaxed about it, so I traded them in for a smaller size.  No dice.  The smaller ones wouldn't even go on.  I'm considering the Cavallo simples, which have a different shape and may fit differently or better.  I'm also considering trying other boots possibly, it's not certain right now.  I'd like to learn a little more about boots before going shopping  for alternatives since my first attempt didn't take.  Oh well.  

The Cavallos on.  Muy suave, no?

This picture better shows the gap around the top. 
 I also picked up some thinning shears and a thinning comb to help even out Jazz's mane and tail.  I'm not quite willing to go for the pulled mane and banged tail look yet, though I do admire how clean it looks.  That being said, there were some weird, scraggly long hairs in her mane that I found annoying.  Her tail was also getting long and considering it was already relatively thin, I worried about her stepping on it and making it thinner, so I wanted it shorter, but I learned in attempting to do so I was not born to be a hairdresser.  I mean, I was using my curved fetlock shears, which didn't help.  I was hoping to make it shorter but still natural looking, though it still looks semi-banged.  At least it's not too long!

This picture I posted recently kind of shows my attempt at fixing Jazz's tail.  If I remember I'll get a better picture, since I messed around with it some more since this was taken.  

Last but not least I bough a pretty purple saddle pad!

Why, yes, this picture is nearly identical to the one above, but it's not the same one I swear!
I think purple's her color!  I'm thinking maybe I'll do a product review of the saddle pad and girth I bough to try with my new English saddle once I get a few better pictures of both of them.

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